In Summary
  • According to Kenya National Farmers Information Service, about 80 per cent of Kenya’s honey comes from arid and semi-arid lands
  • The country produces around 4,000 metric tonnes of honey every year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture
  • A pilot programme on modern beekeeping and honey harvesting is underway in Baringo.

When Sylvia Mwangi and Brian Ndirangu went camping near Lake Baringo in 2016, they had no idea their trip would be a stroke of luck for beekeepers in the semi-arid region.

As they were being shown round by Louis Jumah, a tour guide, something caught Ms Mwangi’s eye.

“Seeing women sell raw honey by the roadside at throwaway prices was the start of the Baringo Asali project,” she said.

It was the start of a partnership between Ms Mwangi, Ndirangu and Jumah. The three wanted to help the community increase honey production.

According to Ms Mwangi, the traditional beekeeping methods could not improve the locals’ economic standards.

Perfect habitat for bees

“They were using traditional hives, with harvests coming after three years.”

The worst part was that the villagers used to sell their products cheaply.

“A mother selling a tin of honey for less than Sh500 was far too low,” she said.

Baringo County is dry and most of the landscape is dominated by shrubs, a perfect habitat for bees.

Bee keeping is, therefore, a part of the lives of residents and a major source of cash.

Even with this, a huge percentage of locals live in abject poverty, largely blamed on old and inefficient methods of honey production and harvesting.

Honey comes from...

According to Kenya National Farmers Information Service, about 80 per cent of Kenya’s honey comes from arid and semi-arid lands.

The survey says 80 per cent of this honey comes from log hives, which yield far too little to boost incomes.

The country produces around 4,000 metric tonnes of honey every year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

It is on this premise that Ms Mwangi and her friends helped Baringo County farmers adopt modern honey production methods.

She introduced them to the Kenyan Top Bar and the Langstroth beehives, which can produce 20 to 30 kilogrammes of honey per hive.

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